Eminent jurist and senior advocate Fali S Nariman passes away at 95

Recipient of the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award, Nariman was renowned for his exceptional oratory skills and sharp advocacy, which were instrumental in securing landmark judgments that pushed the boundaries of legal interpretation.

On Wednesday morning, the legal fraternity and the nation mourned the loss of eminent jurist and senior advocate Fali S Nariman, who passed away at the age of 95. Nariman, hailed as the “Bhishma Pitaamah” of the Indian judiciary, succumbed to multiple ailments, including cardiac issues, leaving behind a legacy that reshaped the legal landscape of the country.

Recipient of the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award, Nariman was renowned for his exceptional oratory skills and sharp advocacy, which were instrumental in securing landmark judgments that pushed the boundaries of legal interpretation. His illustrious career spanned over 70 years, during which he appeared in a multitude of Constitution bench cases, aiding the Supreme Court in interpreting constitutional provisions and redefining the legal framework.

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Among his notable contributions were his appearances in pivotal cases such as the Golak Nath case, where it was established that even constitutional amendments are amenable to judicial review, and the TMA Pai case, which affirmed the right of minorities to establish educational institutions of their choice. Additionally, Nariman played a crucial role in cases like SP Gupta and NJAC, advocating for the independence of the judiciary in the appointment of judges.

Born in Rangoon on January 10, 1929, Nariman was enrolled as an advocate of the Bombay High Court in November 1950, later achieving the designation of senior advocate in 1961. He served as the additional solicitor-general of India in May 1972 but resigned in protest a day after the imposition of the Emergency in June 1975.

Beyond his legal competence, Nariman was a prolific author, penning insightful books such as “Before the Memory Fades,” “The State of the Nation,” and “India’s Legal System: Can it be Saved?” His contributions to legal literature enriched the discourse surrounding the Indian legal system.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi paid tribute to Nariman, describing him as a living legend whose principles and firm commitment to justice will forever resonate in the hearts and minds of those in law and public life. Solicitor-general Tushar Mehta echoed similar sentiments, lauding Nariman as an epitome of intellect and wisdom, whose immense contribution to jurisprudence will immortalize him in the annals of legal history.

Indeed, the passing of Fali S Nariman marks the end of an era in Indian jurisprudence. His legacy as a towering figure of integrity and righteousness will continue to inspire future generations of legal practitioners, ensuring that his impact on the nation’s legal fabric remains indelible. As the legal fraternity mourns his loss, Fali S Nariman’s legacy will endure as a beacon of righteousness and constant commitment to justice.